Vet Blog

Can Itchy Skin Be a Symptom of Allergic Reactions in Dogs?

January 29, 2024

Does Your Dog Have Allergies?

Dogs can have allergies just like humans. And, just like humans, your dog can have allergic reactions to environmental triggers like pollen, plants and insects, or to various foods and medications, as well. Often, allergic reactions in dogs manifest as skin itchiness and dermatitis, which when left untreated can lead to infection.

If you see your dog:

  • Itching
  • Licking and Chewing
  • Scratching
  • Redness and Rashes
  • Rubbing

there is a good chance of exposure to an allergen. Areas frequently affected are the ears, paws (including between the toes), legs, underarms, muzzle and eyes.

Allergies May Occur Due to a Variety of Causes

Airborne Triggers

While humans get stuffy, sneezy and congested from seasonal and airborne allergic factors, dogs will get itchy skin, inflammation and dermatitis. Triggers can include pollen, grasses, dust, molds, pesticides, and cleaning products. While some blood and skin allergy testing is available, it can still be difficult to diagnose the precise cause of the allergic reaction in dogs. Plus, even if the specific allergen is found, it can be difficult to completely eliminate exposure.

Food Allergies

Allergies to certain foods can also cause itchy skin reactions in your dog. However, food allergies can be easier to diagnose by following an elimination/reintroduction diet. Basically, all possible allergens are removed from the diet until the skin is clear, then slowly reintroducing potential allergens one at a time until a reaction occurs and the culprit is determined. Common allergens include beef, eggs, corn, chicken, wheat, soy and dairy. Once the cause of the food allergy is found, it can be permanently eliminated from your dog’s diet and resolve symptoms. Medications can cause allergic reactions in dogs, as well. Talk to your vet if you suspect your dog is ingesting his/her allergic trigger.

Allergic Reactions to Insects

Dogs can develop allergies to bitesand the salivafrom fleas. Flea allergies may cause hair or rash at the base of the spine and tail, and excessive licking and chewing at the site. In extreme cases, Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) may occur from the bite of one single, undetected flea. Mites and other insects can also cause itchy, allergic reactions in dogs. For these allergies, prevention is the best treatment. Talk to your veterinarian at Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital (and read our informative blog) for the best flea prevention for your dog.

Breed and Genetics

Some breeds are more likely to get itchy, allergic skin reactions due to genetic predisposition, temperament and inherited traits. Also, some breeds may be more prone to additional irritation due to the shape of their ears, and others due to the folds of their skin. Warm, moist environments can encourage yeast and bacteria that will increase the skin reactions and make your dog uncomfortable.

How to Treat Allergic Reactions in Dogs

Taking your dog to a compassionate and qualified veterinarian, such as the skilled veterinarians at Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital is an important step towards diagnosis and relief for allergic reactions in your pet. The veterinarian will take a complete medical history and perform a physical exam. He or she may perform some allergy testing to determine the root cause of your dog’s skin irritation and discomfort.

Treatment will depend on the type of allergy your dog is experiencing. Some success has been seen with allergy shots, or giving regulated injections of the allergen to build up tolerance. Or, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and/or other medications may be prescribed to reduce the itching and inflammation and give your dog’s skin a chance to heal. Sprays and cool baths with specialized shampoos may also help control itching and soothe skin.

Call Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital at (972) 690-6900 for an appointment.

Unfortunately, there may not be a cure or easy fix for some allergic reactions in dogs, and finding the source may take some trial and error. It is important to partner with your veterinarian. He or she will monitor your dog and advise you on how to avoid potential triggers and bring your dog relief from itchy, allergy-reacted skin.

Make an Appointment at Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital

Is your dog suffering from allergic reactions and dermatitis? Contact one of the best veterinarians at Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital. Call our friendly office at (972) 690-6900 to make an appointment. Our qualified staff will work hard to find the allergen causing the discomfort and develop a treatment plan to bring relief to your favorite pet dog. If it is after hours and you need to see a veterinarian right away, visit our website for a list of emergency care facilities.

Breckinridge Park Animal Hospital serves the northeast Dallas suburban area. We provide the community with some of the best veterinarians in Richardson, Garland, Plano, Murphy, Wylie and Mesquite.

This information is not a substitute for professional veterinary medical advice. Prior to starting any new treatment or questions regarding an animal’s medical condition, always seek the advice of your veterinarian.